9 Best Tips for Holiday Mailing and Shipping

Tried and true tips to make your holiday mailing & shipping less stressful

Late October through December is the busiest time of year for mailing and shipping carriers. The holiday rush can be somewhat overwhelming considering the incredible volume of cards, letters and packages in transit across the globe. Not to mention delays due to inclement weather.

If you’re feeling a little pressure about getting your holiday mailing and shipping safely to their destination, on time and intact, you’re not alone. Billions of packages and pieces of mail speed toward their destinations from USPS alone.

This holiday season, make it holiday mailing and shipping easier on yourself. Try our 9 best tips for everything from greeting cards and party invitations to Christmas presents and client appreciation gifts.

Other articles you might like:
How to Ship a Package
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Holiday Small Business Packaging & Shipping Ideas

1) Check holiday mailing and shipping deadlines early

The United States Postal Service® (USPS) announces their holiday mailing and shipping deadlines in October. This includes mail-by dates for domestic and international destinations. Bookmark the USPS holiday mailing and shipping schedule for quick reference.

The USPS holiday schedule includes deadlines and cut offs for domestic mail in the contiguous US, Alaska and Hawaii, international mail and military mail. Shipping with a different carrier? Holiday mailing and shipping send-by dates for FedEx and UPS are available online as well. 

images side by side. On the left is a pile of holiday packages surrounded by festive greenery and snowflake decorations. The packages are labeled with Avery shipping labels that are designed with free Avery templates. On the right are holiday cards and envelopes surrounded by similar decorations and a cozy white blanket. The envelopes are labeled with Avery address labels featuring free Avery template designs for Christmas.
Make holiday mailing and shipping easier. Avery address and shipping labels are engineered to work better than basic labels, with enhanced product features you can’t find anywhere else.

2) Take extra care addressing envelopes and parcels

You can reduce address errors by verifying, or validating, them using the USPS address validator before sending. If a package or envelope is marked undeliverable (for whatever reason), it is generally returned to sender. When no return address is present on the outside, the item is sent to the USPS lost and found.

It’s always a good idea to include a return address on the outside and inside of your holiday mailing and shipping. In the lost and found, the package may be opened to see if there is a return address or some other clue to return to sender. If nothing is found, the items are donated, recycled or auctioned off.

Pro Tip: Reduce undeliverable envelopes and packages by using address and shipping labels with strong permanent adhesive. Labels with Ultrahold® adhesive stay stuck better than basic labels.

3) Make sure you have the correct postage

Mailing letters and cards: Domestic and international Forever Stamps cost the same as domestic or international First-Class mail respectively. They can be used to mail a one-ounce letter or card any time in the future— regardless of when they are purchased or any changes to First-Class mail prices.

Shipping packages (including large envelopes or envelopes above one ounce): There are many options for buying postage online. Shipping charges are calculated by weight and dimensions in addition to the length of the journey. You will need access to a scale and a tape measure.

Pro Tip: Inexpensive scales for weighing ingredients while cooking are ideal for most shipping needs from home or the office. As long as your packages are not too large or heavy, food scales work like a charm.

4) Save money on holiday shipping by reusing old boxes

Save money on packing and shipping by reusing old boxes. Even if your used boxes are covered in old shipping labels and other markings, you can still use them as long as you can completely cover old labels and barcodes.

FACT: “Bleed through” from dark markings under a shipping label can cause incorrect or incomplete barcode scans. Which can lead to lost or delayed packages.

Pro Tip: Labels with TrueBlock® technology completely cover up everything underneath. Including dark markings such as permanent marker and barcodes. No “bleed through” means better barcode scans.

5) Consider winter weather when mailing and shipping

Check your local weather and the weather for your item’s destination. During severe cold, wet, and/or windy weather, estimate a few extra days to account for delays in transit and make sure your packaging and labels stand up to wet and/or cold conditions.

Ink on paper labels easily bleeds or smudges with just a few sprinkles of water. Waterproof labels are made with film, not paper, to avoid this problem. Insulated packaging, insulation liners and crumpled newspaper or packing paper will protect temperature sensitive-items in freezing weather.

Common temperature-sensitive items include: appliances, electronics, wooden furniture and/or gifts, glass, dishware, mirrors, musical instruments, plants and grandfather clocks.

Pro Tip: If you’re reusing an old box and your package may also encounter rain or snow, use waterproof labels with Trueblock technology.
rst person view of a lap covered in a cozy blanket with a laptop on their legs. The person has cocoa with marshmallows in one hand and is designing Avery address labels on their laptop with the other hand. Two packages and a holiday card envelope are spread out featuring Avery labels made with free Avery template designs.
Design and print customized mailing and shipping labels with our free online software. Take a tour of all the holiday templates for our most popular address label and see how easy it is to do.

6) Create personalized holiday mailing and shipping labels from your desktop

Did you know that you can create custom designs for your holiday mailing and shipping labels for free? Avery Design and Print Online is free software that allows you to design from scratch, upload your own artwork, or modify pre-designed templates.

Pre-designed Avery templates can be customized with text, color, images, even your logo. You can also choose graphics from our graphics library.

Try it for yourself and see how easy it is to get started:

7) Save time addressing holiday cards and correspondence

In Avery Design and Print Online, you can also use the Mail Merge feature to quickly import all your addresses. With mail merge, there’s no need to copy/paste or type in each one individually, the software automatically pulls addresses from any spreadsheet you choose.

Pro Tip: To make holiday mailing even quicker, try address labels with Easy Peel®. The scored sheets make it easier to grab the edge of labels.

8) Get the look of custom-printed holiday envelopes with clear labels

Add a timeless, elegant feel to your holiday mailing with holiday envelopes that look like they were custom-printed. You can get that custom-printed look (without the custom price tag) using glossy clear Avery address labels.

Pro Tip: Shop blank labels by the sheet for a wide variety of label materials, color and finishes.

9) Try custom-printed postcards to cover holiday mailing fast!

Custom-printing is fantastic for projects with photos and saturated colors. Not only do you save money on ink, but our custom printing service uses professional industry-leading printers for pristine print quality, regardless of saturation or quantity.

Design online and your holiday card order ships in as few as 3 business days. Choose from a wide variety of stunning pre-designed templates for holiday cards that are easy to quickly modify with your own photo, text and colors.

The best tips for holiday mailing and shipping help make it less stressful

Check holiday mailing and shipping deadlines as early as October. Validate your addresses, include a return address inside packages and use labels with strong adhesive to reduce undeliverable and/or delayed mail.

Make sure you have the correct postage with Forever Stamps for letters and cards, and a scale and measuring tape for buying shipping postage online. Save money on supplies with old boxes and labels designed to completely cover everything underneath, including old labels and barcodes.

Take into account the challenges of winter weather. Estimate extra days for transit. Use waterproof mailing and shipping labels to prevent smudging and bleeding from rain or snow. Insulate temperature-sensitive items.

Get holiday mailing and shipping out the door quicker (and looking great) with Avery tools. Our free online software with Mail Merge, pre-designed holiday templates, and professional printing service help you get projects done faster. Clear address labels make ordinary envelopes look special.

Do you have a question about mailing and shipping during the holidays? Let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to help.

Author: JoJo Mrgich

JoAnn (JoJo) Mrgich is a copywriter and SEO content writer who began her copywriting career in 2011. A musical theater major at the time, JoJo began writing blog articles, product descriptions, and other online content for a dancewear brand. Since then, she has gone on to write in a variety of fields, from essential oils and natural beauty to fashion and swimwear, finally landing at Avery, which she affectionately calls her "forever home." At Avery, JoJo writes content for the Avery blog, covering everything from organization to party planning, as well as contributing to other online content for avery.com. She is also a technical and content writer for Avery Industrial, where she writes in-depth articles that span a wide variety of topics, from safety compliance to 5S lean practices. In her personal life, JoJo is a big fan of fantasy and science-fiction works such as Lord of the Rings and Star Trek (especially the original series). She also loves going to Disneyland and runs a non-profit social organization of 600 members that brings fans of "nerd culture" together for meet-ups and events in Southern California.